Lamb Kabuli Palau

Lamb Kabuli Palau


2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1.5 kg (4) lamb shanks
2 small onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
4 black cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves
3 cups (600 g) basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour
Salt to taste
1/3 cup (80 g) light brown sugar
1 Tbs ground cumin
Finely chopped parsley and cucumber yoghurt sauce to serve


2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (60 g) slivered almonds
1/3 cup (40 g) pistachios
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin batons
1 Tbs light brown sugar
1 cup (150 g) sultanas

Cucumber Yoghurt Sauce:

1 small Lebanese cucumber, grated
1 cup (250 g) natural Greek-style yoghurt
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


Cucumber Yoghurt Sauce:

Place cucumber in a piece of muslin cloth and gently squeeze over a bowl to remove excess liquid. Discard liquid.

Place the cucumber into a small bowl with the yoghurt, lemon juice and coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.


Heat oil in a large pot over medium to high heat. Add the lamb shanks. Cook, turning until browned and sealed on all sides. Transfer shanks to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions to the same pot. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until golden. Stir in the garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and cloves. Cook for a further minute or until fragrant.

Return lamb to the pot. Coat with the onions and spices. Cover with 2 litres of water, or just enough to cover the shanks. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours or until meat is tender and falling off the bone.

Transfer lamb pieces to a plate. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Reserve the onion and spices. Return stock to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, or until reduced by half. Set aside.

Fill a large pot with 3 litres of water and place over medium to high heat. Season with salt. Bring to the boil. Add the rice. Cook for 5 minutes or until rice is three quarters cooked. Drain and return rice to pot.

Measure 400 ml of the stock. Place the sugar into a small non-stick frying pan over medium to high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until bubbling and caramelised. Add the stock, cumin and reserved onion and spices. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat.

Pour half of the sugar and stock mixture over the rice and gently toss to coat. Remove the lamb from the bone and place on top of the rice. Pour over the remaining sugar and stock mixture.

Cover with lid and set over medium to high heat. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is completely cooked through.

Meanwhile, to prepare the garnishes, heat half the oil in a small non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the almonds and pistachios. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove.

Heat remaining oil in the same pan. Add the carrots and sugar. Cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes, or until carrot is softened. Stir in the sultanas. Remove.

To assemble, spoon the rice onto a large serving platter. Sprinkle over half the toasted nuts, carrot mixture and lamb. Repeat with remaining rice, lamb and garnishes.

Serve sprinkled with finely chopped parsley and cucumber yoghurt sauce on the side.

Credits: Karimullah Zarifi

Photo Credits: Kitti Smallbone

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